Typically, after winter break, the next big vacation begins to loom in the minds of the Jewish community — the often-dreaded Pesach holiday. The intense cleaning, the precise kashering, the shopping for both clothing and overpriced food, not to mention the cooking marathon, leave very little time to enjoy any sense of freedom, the holiday’s real message.
Enter “Pesach in Vallarta,” a program like no other. Situated in the heart of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, The Grand Fiesta Americana hotel is transformed into an entirely kosher oceanfront oasis of warm afternoons and tranquil nights, with a staff whose singular purpose is to make your stay enjoyable. It is easy to quickly slip away from the traditional Pesach feel and truly experience a pampered vacation.
We have been on a few Passover programs, and what stands out about Mati Cohen’s Pesach in Vallarta is that Mati, as the director, constantly approaches each guest to chat. This makes everyone feel like a VIP. It is the personalized service and interactive feedback that guests love and admire about this experience; they feel like their needs are addressed at all times and are not swept under the rug.
Pesach in Vallarta also boasts an exemplary Kids Club. This is always a key point that we research when investigating a program. Who runs it? What activities will be offered for the children? Is there a baby room? Mati provides it all, by programming thrilling night activities for the kids, entertaining games and outings during the day and top-notch counselors vetted from the best institutions. The children are excited to attend camp, enabling parents to have some private, free time to themselves during the day. There are also always babysitters available in the evenings, which is typically useful for those children who are wiped out from the day’s exuberant activities.
We have been on programs where there is a line at the kids’ dining room at 4:55 p.m. By the time it would be our turn to grab plates and load up on the same repetitive food, there would be one hot dog left for our four kids to share. We’d find ourselves scavenging for a box of matzah and a wad of cream cheese that we hid in a fridge from breakfast in preparation for just such a moment. We’d battle other parents and wait in long lines, only to be disappointed. On Pesach in Vallarta this was never the case. The unique establishment of several restaurants that were open all day, with food that was available to be ordered à la carte, allowed the children to not have to wait until a prescribed time just to receive a half-empty plate.
Instead, we would head to a restaurant with them, and order anything from pizza and ice cream, to Passover sushi or shawarma, to wings and a skirt steak with a side of sweet potato chips and salads. Later, we’d head to the kids’ dining room to check out the meal that was also available for them, in case the first dinner was not to their liking. Because of the constant availability of food, there were never lines at the kid (or adult) meals; nobody felt like they were starving or that there wouldn’t be enough food to go around.
The most appealing thing about the food was that it was healthier than anything I’d ever seen. There was thought put into the well-balanced, carefully manicured meals, and candy and junk food weren’t constantly thrown at the kids. I remember being on a program and seeing children stuff their pockets with boxes of gum and pouches of cotton-candy as if this were their sole sustenance. It saddened me to see kids hoarding food (if that would actually qualify as a food group), and that all they would be eating was sugar in spite of the lavish dining options. Mati’s program is different; the traditional tea room is a pristine glass display-case in the lobby, designed to look like a high-end coffee shop with top-of-the-line pastries, and fresh cold and hot drinks that were specially made by a barista. This limited the availability of junk food to the kids, enabling them to make other, healthier choices.
The other aspects of the trip are similarly top-notch. Mati is known to never cut corners, and these areas of the trip were no exception. He invites tasteful entertainment ranging from circus performers, DJs and light shows, to a variety of concerts and mentalists. He always brings on an a cappella group to perform, table-side, at meals. Rabbis are invited from all corners of the world for late-night impromptu concerts and kumsitzes, representing Jews from both Ashkenazic and Sephardic backgrounds. The plethora of shiurim on current topics of Jewish interest creates an additional spiritual dimension to the plenteous experience. There are private exercise groups with trainers, cooking demonstrations, water sports and waterpark, boating and zip-lining excursions available to those not content to sit poolside with a mixed drink in hand. There are so many great Pesach options out there — but there is definitely one that stands out above and beyond the others, and that would be Pesach in Vallarta. Check out Pesach in Vallarta or call 305-892-7372 to find out how your family can experience a one-of-a-kind Pesach that is sure to be unforgettable.
Read the original at The Jewish Link.
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